My Vegetarian Journey
My Vegetarian Journey 1 Month in + #VEG4COP26
I’m a Texan, born and raised. My grandfather prides himself in making the best steak in the world, which I ate with delight every Sunday for years. BBQ. Hamburgers. Fried Chicken. Sloppy Joes...wait, nevermind. If it had meat in it, I ate it, and I loved it. Eating meat was a part of my culture from birth…until one month ago.
Naturally, working in climate for almost 7 years I fully understand and appreciate the fact that eating a vegan diet can be the single biggest way a person can reduce their carbon footprint. Yet I couldn’t shed my addiction to meat. I’m a Texan, damnit. I’ve helped run an environmental non-profit and directed millions upon millions of dollars towards climate tech startups. Heck, I even advised the Trump administration on how to support cleantech entrepreneurs…as an undercover Democrat! If eating meat is my one flaw, so be it. At least that was the story I told myself…
Then I watched the movie The Game Changers during a Netflix and chill night with my partner. Seeing those high performance athletes being vegans and learning about the health improvements realized by removing animal products from a human’s diet was a…game changer (sorry, had to do it) for me. I decided it was time to stop eating meat, or at least reduce my consumption by 90%. Not only for the planet, but for my own health.
Easier said than done.
I quickly learned I truly was addicted to meat. No joke, night 3 I had a dream about eating a huge plate of Korean BBQ. I got full, and ate more because the meat was so darn delicious. The next day I was heading back from a friend’s house and made a detour to an In-N-Out Burger, just to drive by.
There’s a bright side.
After the first week the sun continued to rise and I started feeling better physically. I discovered awesome animal product substitutes at grocery stores and Uber Eats has so many great vegetarian options (especially in SF). Indian? Pasta? Thai? Yes, please. I stopped craving meat. In fact, seeing people eat meat kinda grosses me out now.
But is my vegetarian journey sustainable?
I’m an especially social human being. Dinner parties, mixers, hoedowns, you name it. It isn’t until you’ve rid your diet of meat do you realize how few vegetarian options there are at most restaurants and gatherings. E.g. we did date night at Original Joe’s, a Bay Area Italian staple with a huge menu. 2 entree options for me. 2. Do you have to put meat in everything?!? We went to a catered birthday party. BBQ…ugh…test me…but do you have to put meat in the beans?!? Really?!?
Eyes wide open.
There are SO many great animal product substitutes out there…it boggles my mind there aren’t more options for vegetarians. Heck, I’m a vegetarian, NOT a vegan, I’m making it easy on you! It’s time for more people creating menus to not only take vegetarians + vegans into consideration, but also to put in a little effort to make vegetarian dishes taste good. It’s not difficult. Trust me. Yesterday I made an Impossible burger with vegan cheese for lunch and plant based ravioli for dinner. Simple. The food tasted great and I feel fantastic this morning.
I look forward to updating everybody on My Vegan Journey moving forward, not only to hold myself accountable but also to inspire a few others to stop eating meat, as well. If I can do it, you can, too. Trust me. Heck, honestly, at this point I’m not forcing myself to be a vegetarian. I enjoy it. I’m healthier and happier than I was as a carnivore. Join me!
In closing I’d like everybody reading this to go on their own vegetarian journey, if they aren’t on one already. We all know COP26 starts next week. Many people in the industry have been working hard towards helping politicians make big climate deals, which is important. However, I’m a firm believer in the power of the individual, and that ultimately YOU will solve the climate crisis, not governments. Politicians are people, after all.
That being said, if you aren’t a vegetarian, be one during COP26 (10/31-11/12). Are you telling me you can’t stop eating meat for 12 days? C’mon. If not for the planet, do it for your health. If you decide to give it a go, share the experience of your journey with others and tag #VEG4COP26.
That’s all, for now. Until next time.